Letter: Please Rescind Executive Order to Reopen Businesses

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Governor Brian Kemp, We are writing to request that you act immediately to protect the lives of people impacted by this public health pandemic. The Georgia NAACP is deeply concerned that African Americans are disproportionately dying from the Coronavirus and are committed to partnering with every federal and state institution to develop solutions to minimize this disparity as much as possible. We believe that opening the state at this present moment is not in the best interest of Georgians. As your order has taken effect, we have asked communities to continue to shelter-in-place. As Georgia prepares for the gradual reopening of the state, we want to ensure that every single life is protected. We want to provide some recommendations that would assist in reaching that goal. We ask that you faithfully consider the following, as it would provide the greatest opportunity for success: · Increase Access to Testing and Treatment: Procedures should include at minimum – equitable screening and testing of people for COVID-19 and increased access to medical care, equipment, and medication necessary to treat those who contract the virus across the state. Unfortunately, we have received inquiries from those within the black community who’s been unable to get one due to being turned away for being asymptomatic or simply not having testing available anywhere nearby – especially in rural Georgia. · Provide Personal Protective Equipment [PPE] statewide: As the state prepares to open back up gradually, allowing Georgians to be able to have access to state-sponsored PPE not only ensures that people are adequately protected from increased physical interactions but also safeguarded from the disparity in access due to financial hardship and/or available retail supply. · Amend Executive Order to Exclude Preemption: City/county leaders from all over Georgia have experienced the impact of COVID-19 in their communities at varying levels. Granting local municipalities the flexibility to decide would go a long way to helping save lives and ensuring communities move forward. · Provide Grant Opportunities for Black & Minority-Owned Business: As businesses have been forced to close, the state providing immediate financial relief to business owners across Georgia would be a great first step to reopening. The federal economic relief package saw financial institutions give access to relief to too few local black-owned businesses and organizations. · Expand Medicaid: Georgia currently covers about 1 out of 5 of its residents through PeachCare and Medicaid. We know that this is not enough and we should extend coverage to the most vulnerable – those over 60 with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and children. Though we are aware of the removal of COVID-19 related cost sharing for patients, we should universally eliminate financial liability to advance the efforts of equitable medical care for all Georgians, especially rural, during this pandemic. Our recommendations are an opportunity to decrease – if not eliminate the gap and to save the lives of our loved ones. We are willing to work with you to take the steps above and are willing to be a resource for you throughout the entire process. Please advise if there is anything we can do to assist you in this effort. Feel reach to reach out to me at (404) 577-8977 or email at statepresident@naacpga.org. In solidarity,

Rev. James “Major” Woodall, Silver Life Member State President, Georgia NAACP

101 views0 comments